ITV’s big-budget retelling of Queen Victoria’s reign ended its first series last night, and during the run of the historical drama one thing became clear – people were keen for Victoria (Jenna Coleman) to get together with her Prime Minister Lord Melbourne (Rufus Sewell) rather than future husband Prince Albert (Tom Hughes), history be damned.
And happily, star Jenna Coleman can totally get behind the shipping, even if you wouldn’t find it in any textbooks.
“Yeah I think it’s great,” Coleman told RadioTimes.com. “It’s amazing that people have invested in that so much.”
“I mean, I loved working with Rufus, I absolutely adored it. I think he’s an amazing actor. And I found their relationship so, so charming. I think it’s really, really beautiful, and actually unbelievably crucial to her reign, and really shaped her into the queen and the person that she became.
“And I think it’s great storytelling, because it’s interesting a lot of people seem to have fallen in love with Albert so people are, now, torn between the two.. You know that both relationships are just so different, yet they’ve been invested in, which is fabulous.”
Of course, in the last three episodes of Victoria, Melbourne was noticeably absent, governing the country offscreen while Sewell filmed Amazon Prime drama The Man in the High Castle. It’s fair to say he’s been missed by viewers – but Coleman’s in two minds about whether it’d be good to see him back in her court.
“I mean I’d love Rufus to stay around, I’d love him to,” Coleman admitted.
“But I think Albert and Lord Melbourne cannot coexist together, and it’s not how history went. And apparently when he did leave, when he stopped being Prime Minister, he aged really really quickly. It’s all rather sad actually.”
Well, at least if Sewell doesn’t return we won’t have to watch that sad storyline play out on screen – and in any case, Coleman was full of other ideas about what we could see in future series of Victoria (a second series was confirmed for broadcast after this interview took place).
“I think there’s just a lot of story,” Coleman said.
“We’ve only covered three years in the first story, and the end of the first child, and they go on to have many children, we haven’t got to the Great Exhibition.
“There’s so much there waiting to be told – and Victoria and Albert’s relationship as well is full of drama. It’s full of it. It’s turbulent and it’s temperamental, they’re so deeply in love, yet you know they’re 19 when they meet and they have to navigate this relationship in public and out of public, and navigate power as well, power between them.
“So it’s a really fascinating dynamic which I feel can be further explored, for sure.”
But for now, it seems like Coleman is still just revelling in the first series’ success, which she says she’d slightly avoided until now.
“I feel a bit overwhelmed actually, and very relieved, and just really pleased,” she told us.
“It’s funny, I’ve been away for quite a while so it’s suddenly being back in London this past week. There seems to be a lot of feedback, and people on the streets and friends enjoying it. So it’s really, really thrilling.
“And in a story sense, people want to stop you to talk about the series. Which is amazing – it feels like it’s kind of captured people, which is great.”
Victoria is distributed by ITV Studios Global Entertainment. It’s available on DVD from 10 October and is out now on digital download